After seeing this past week's episode of Project Runway, where Mondo Guerra revealed he is HIV+ during the runway show, I knew I wanted to get him in Oasis (you can read my interview with Mondo here). I think HIV/AIDS is an important issue to bring up with LGBT youth whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Andy South is also gay and the youngest contestant on the show this season, which is why I already planned to feature him in Oasis as the season progressed. Because Andy is closest in age to the members of our site, I asked him to share his thoughts on Mondo revealing his HIV status on Project Runway last week. This is what he wrote:
"Mondo and I are 10 years apart in age, and knowing he has been living with HIV for that amount of time made me really think about where I am in my life. Mondo was infected when he was my age and it really opened my eyes to how unpredictable life is.
I don't know the details on how exactly he was infected, but his story is a reminder that I am responsible for my future and that I will be accountable for whatever decisions I make today. I have only known one other person who was infected and he has now passed; meeting and getting to know Mondo and then learning his secret reminded me that this is something that often affects even the greatest souls on this earth.
My advice -- for not only gay youth, but youth in general -- is to become educated and informed on the risks that do affect us. Know how HIV is transmitted and how it's not. And embrace those that are fighting.
Mondo became my hero on that runway for his courage and fight to make something negative into something positive and inspiring. He knows that I love him and even all the way from Hawaii, I am embracing my friend and brother in his fight. And status aside, he is still that queen from Denver that I adore."